Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf L/ Luchs (Lynx)/ VK1303

The Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf L “Luchs” (Lynx) was the only one of a series of reconnaissance tanks based on the Panzer II to be produced in significant numbers. Work on this series of tanks began in 1938 with the VK901/ Ausf G. The development of this light reconnaissance tank was split between MAN, who were to develop the chassis, and Daimler-Benz, who were to develop the turret and superstructure. This version of the Panzer II introduced a new suspension system, using five pairs of overlapping road wheels with torsion bar suspension.

Next in the development series was the VK1301/ Ausf H. This was to have been a heavier reconnaissance vehicle, armed with a 5cm KwK39/1 gun. Four prototypes were constructed in August 1942, before work moved onto the VK1303, the prototype for the Lynx itself.

The Lynx carried a crew of four – driver, radio operator, gunner and commander. The superstructure was wider than on the standard Panzer II, allowing the installation of a larger two man turret. Visibility was provided by two revolving periscopes on the turret roof.

Once again development was split between MAN and Daimler-Benz, in the same way as on the VK901. When production began in September 1943, the Lynx was armed with the same combination of one 20cm cannon and one 7.92mm machine gun as the standard Panzer II. An order was placed for 100 armed with the 20cm cannon and a further 700 armed with a 5cm KwK 39/1 gun, under the name Leopard. Some sources suggest that 31 of these were built before the order was cancelled.

The 100 cannon armed machines were completed, and entered service with the reconnaissance detachments of the Panzer divisions on both the Eastern and Western fronts, where they served in small numbers to the end of the war.

Number produced

100 from new
4 converted from VK1301

Alternative names

Sd Kfz 123
Panzerspahwagen II (20mm KwK 38) Luchs (Lynz)
Pz Sp Wg II

Produced

September 1943-January 1944

Hull Length

4.63m

Hull Width

2.48m

Height

2.21m

Crew

4

Weight

13 or 11.8 tones

Engine

Maybach HL66P

Horsepower

180hp

Max Speed

60 km/hr/ 37mph

Max Range

290km

Armament

One 2cm KwK38 L/55
One 7.92mm MG 34


Armour

Front

Side

Rear

Top/ Bottom

Turret

30mm 

20mm 

20mm 

12mm

Superstructure

30mm 

20mm 

20mm 

10mm

Hull

30mm 

20mm 

20mm 

10mm

Gun mantlet

30mm 

 

 

 

Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War II, Peter Chamberlain and Hilary L. Doyle. A superb detailed reference guide that covers every type of tank, armoured car, self-propelled guns and semi-tracked vehicle that was used by the German Army between 1933 and the end of the Second World War War. An essential reference book for anyone interested in the subject. [see more]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (23 February 2008), Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf L/ Luchs (Lynx)/ VK1303 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_panzer_II_ausf_L.html

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